A regional maintenance provider for a new Defence regional maintenance center (RMC) at Henderson Maritime Precinct in Western Australia has been selected, giving Defense’s capability in the west a major boost.

Naval Ship Management (NSM) was awarded the five-year contract on October 13 after a competitive tender process.

It will be charged with coordinating and scheduling maintenance for Navy vessels in WA, as well building resilient local and regional supply chains.

Head Maritime Systems Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm said RMC West was on track to be operational by this time next year and this significant contract was a key step in preparing for that milestone.

“RMC West is the second in our national network of four strategically located sustainment centers being established under Plan Galileo, which over time will be able to conduct maintenance on all surface naval fleet units,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said.

“This approach will contribute to the delivery of continuous sustainment to the complex naval capability resulting from Continuous Naval Shipbuilding and will also ensure Navy can surge, as well as respond to changing operational requirements.

“This is of particular importance as we navigate a complex and changing strategic environment. Of equal importance and benefit is the ongoing investment and focus in the west on building our sovereign naval capability, bolstering supply chains and industry participation.

“Our collaborative approach ultimately supports Australian industry through job opportunities, removing barriers to entry into the defense maritime sector and providing more certainty for them to plan and invest.

“With NSM now engaged as the regional maintenance provider, we are formally establishing RMC West and creating a network of RMCs, which is very exciting.”

Initially, one of the asset classes to be supported by RMC West is the new Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels, as well as planning for future Anzac-class frigate maintenance support.

Planning for RMC North and RMC East is under way, with the centers to be operating in 2023 and 2024 respectively.